Young, Western observers typically assume light originates from an above-left location in shaded stimuli in which a light source is not explicitly depicted. This left bias is thought to reflect hemispheric asymmetry. Like certain cognitive functions, behavioural markers of hemispheric asymmetry reduce with age and are often sex-specific, yet the relationship between cognitive function, sex, and hemispheric asymmetry have not been reviewed. This study assesses the relative contributions of age, sex, and cognitive function on performance in two typically left-biased behavioural tasks: the Honeycomb measure of the assumed light direction and the Landmark Task. Sixty-seven older adults (41 women) aged 60-87 years judged whether geometric shapes, shaded to convey 3-D depth, were convex or concave. The stimulus was rotated across 24 orientations (ranging from 0° to 330° in 15° increments), and the proportion of convex judgements to each orientation was used to generate an estimate of their assumed light direction. We also assessed whether participants’ responses to the Honeycomb stimuli were significantly modulated by the orientation of the stimulus, providing a measure of sensitivity to shading information and categorised them as sensitive or insensitive to shape-from-shading. Cognitive function was assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA; Nasreddine et al., 2005). Though men exhibited a more leftward bias than women, this difference was not significant. Interestingly, women who were insensitive to the stimulus had significantly lower MoCA scores than women who were sensitive; however, there was no difference in cognitive function between sensitive and insensitive men. The results of this study suggest that age-related changes in the cognitive processes associated with resolving 3-D depth from shaded stimuli are sex-specific.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2023
EventEuropean Conference on Visual Perception, 2023 - Paphos, Cyprus
Duration: 27 Aug 202331 Aug 2023


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Visual Perception, 2023
Abbreviated titleECVP
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